Bellingham Dentist

Reopening June 1st

Our office will officially reopen Monday, June 1st! For the safety of our community, our scheduling process and appointment check-in protocol will change as follows:

    1. All patients will be screened with the following questions prior to their appointment or scheduling:
      1. Are you feeling ill or experiencing any of the following:
        • Fever or feeling feverish (chills, sweating)
        • Fatigue
        • Shortness of breath
        • Cough
      2. In the last 2 weeks have you:
        • Had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19?
        • Visited a place where COVID-19 is spreading?

If you have an upcoming appointment and answered yes to any of the above questions, we ask you to please call our office to reschedule your appointment.

  1. The following changes will be made during your appointment:
    • Please come to your appointment without guests, if possible.
    • We are asking patients to arrive 10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.
    • Please wait in your car and call our office to notify us of your arrival. If you cannot reach us by phone during peak check-in times, please try calling again.
    • We will text you when we are ready to see you for your appointment.
    • Patients will be required to wear their own personal mask into our office. If you do not have one, we will provide you with one.

Prior to our opening, if you are an established patient and experiencing a true dental emergency, please call our office (360)734-4374 for information on how to reach our on-call Doctor.

We look forward to seeing all of you as soon as possible! In the meantime, please continue to stay safe and healthy.

May Update

Our office will remain closed through the week of May 18th as we strive to obtain all the protective gear we need to protect our patients and our staff. If you had an appointment scheduled between May 18th – May 22nd, please know it is cancelled, and we will reach out to reschedule you as soon as we are able. We will continue to reevaluate weekly so we can safely reopen as soon as possible.

Thank you for your patience as we strive to get back to taking care of our community. If you are experiencing a true dental emergency, please call our office (360)734-4374 for information on how to reach our on-call Doctor.

When our office reopens, we will be employing the following protocols for everyone’s safety:

1) All patients will be screened with the following questions prior to their appointment or scheduling:

a) Are you feeling ill or experiencing any of the following:

  • Fever or feeling feverish (chills, sweating)
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough

b) In the last 2 weeks have you:

  • Had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19?
  • Visited a place where COVID-19 is spreading?

2) The following changes will be made during your appointment:

Please come to your appointment without guests, if possible.
We are asking patients to arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment.
Please wait in your car and call our office to notify us of your arrival. If you cannot reach us by phone during peak check-in times, please send us a text.
We will text you when we are ready to see you for your appointment.
Patients will be required to wear their own personal mask into our office. If you do not have one, we will provide you with one.

We look forward to seeing all of you as soon as possible! In the meantime, please continue to stay safe and healthy.

Why and How You Should Fight Mouth Germs

Mouth Germs

We have been told that our mouths are one of the dirtiest places in our bodies. The thought that all sorts of microorganisms live in the mouth – good and bad ones together – can make you feel very uncomfortable. Harmful bacteria feed on the food debris – sugar, starch, etc – left on our tooth surfaces, in between teeth and even under the gum line to cause plaque, eventually. Plaque is acidic and can boar into tooth enamel to cause cavities and decay and some serious gum disease.

Fortunately, we know the answer, but it requires effort, discipline, even dedication in everybody who continues to eat and drink to survive. We might not be able to rid our mouths of all forms of inhabitants that cause harm, in fact we have to keep the good ones and some bad ones also to maintain the normal balance. So, here are some of the most acknowledged, efficacious and tested means to fight mouth germs.

Daily Healthy Habits

Regular tooth brushing is a powerful tool to combat mouth germs. Brushing twice daily at least, for at least two minutes using gentle brush strokes is recommended. All surfaces of teeth should be covered, even along the gum line and to also include the tongue surface. Toothpaste with fluoride is essential as the mineral strengthens tooth enamel against cavity formation.

Be sure to also keep your toothbrush clean as bacteria can flourish on your bristles. Clean your brush well as to not leave any small debris behind. Switch to a new toothbrush after 3 to 4 months or when you see that the bristles are worn or frayed already. Change to a new one as well after an illness. Don’t keep toothbrushes in closed containers but rather in open air to dry, as damp moisture attracts bacteria.

Daily flossing is another important way to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Flossing can help to remove plaque from places that your toothbrush can’t reach. Slide your floss in between the teeth. Also clean at the base of each tooth, removing plaque and food debris from underneath the gum line.

Are you on a healthy diet?

What you eat can also help to support a healthy mouth. Cut down on diets rich in sugar and starch as they are irresistible magnets for bacteria. Snack on fresh fruits and veggies instead. Whole grains are also healthy for teeth and gums.

Regular dentist visitations are also essential in fighting mouth germs. At least see your dentist every 6 months for oral examination and in-office teeth cleaning. You need professional cleaning regularly for plaque and tartar that you will be unable to remove by yourself. Your dentist will also check for the presence of cavities or gum disease that you won’t recognize on your own.

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Does My Child Have Bad Breath?

Causes of Children’s Bad Breath

Did you notice a time you smelled your little child’s breath and it was terrible? You might suspect that it can be due to an assortment of things the child puts in his/her mouth from time to time. Nonetheless, you cannot be complacent especially when the odor is like that which you’ve never smelled before. Could it be oral hygiene? Nonetheless there can be other causes that need a different solution. Here are five surprising causes of bad breath in children and how to deal with them.

Sinus Infection

You might have your child complain about a stuffy nose or a sore throat. The child may have a sinus infection, the throat may be inflamed and a noticeable post nasal drip. Also, the child’s breath can smell really bad. This is something that tooth brushing or mouth washing cannot treat. It’s time to see the doctor and antibiotics may be prescribed.

Swollen Tonsils

If the child complains that the back of his mouth hurts or has difficulty swallowing, take a look at his tonsils. Do you see them swollen, red, inflamed, or have white spots? This could also cause bad breath. That’s because bacteria has collected in the pits of the swollen tonsils. Again, a trip to the doctor can fix the issue with a close examination and an antibiotic prescription.

Foreign Objects

Curious kids can easily get into trouble. There are times they’d like to stick in objects that fit inside their noses. It could be food, beads, beans, small toys, or other small objects. When an object gets lodged in a child’s nasal passages it can create a nasty smell. If you suspect so, then you’ll have to see the doctor who will help check your child’s nasal passages and remove the object.

Dry Mouth

Active children tend to run around and engage in tireless play. If you’ve got super active kids, be sure to always have them stay hydrated since they don’t care to remember to drink. If children play sports and they have a smelly breath, that means they don’t get enough water. Less hydrated kids will produce less saliva for washing away odor-causing bacteria. It can also lead to more cavities. Hence, lots of water.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Children can have odorous breath from a range of dental issues – decay from cavities, gum disease, mouth sores and other mouth infections. You can prevent them from spreading but tooth brushing and flossing cannot heal them. It’s time to bring your child to the dentist. You will certainly be advised by the dentist that after the appropriate treatment, the oral hygiene routine must be instilled and maintained.

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Children’s Oral Health

Whether if it’s bad breath, tooth aches or other dental issues, visit your Bellingham dentist to seek professional assistance and to maintain good oral health for your child and family.

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Right?

Our tooth brushing habits are deeply ingrained in childhood and have not changed much. In fact, for most of us, it’s been like that, and any new research might be ignored or be difficult to get across. If you think about who taught you how to brush your teeth, they probably have dental issues already; and those who taught them, ended up with having no teeth left.

Do you brush your teeth before or after breakfast?

The official NHS advice is to brush your teeth for about two minutes last thing at night before you go to bed and on one other occasion every day. You need to clean your teeth before breakfast. It’s about the pH levels in the mouth. When you eat breakfast and introduce acidic foods, like orange juice or sugary cereal, the acid attack leaves teeth more vulnerable for about an hour afterwards. Brushing beforehand means your teeth have that extra protection against decay before you eat.

Flossing

Using an interdental brush or flossing before cleaning with a toothbrush is recommended. You clean only 60% of your teeth (the surfaces) when you brush. The remaining 40% are between your teeth, so expect bacteria to be left there. An interdental brush such as TePe will remove it. You’ll want to use a toothbrush afterwards so that bacteria doesn’t remain on the other parts of your teeth.

Fluoride

While toothpaste with fluoride is essential, more important is the concentration of fluoride parts per million (or ppm) which should appear on the container or box. Most brands carry it in small print on the back. 1,000 fluoride ppm is recommended for children under 3 years old. Older children and adults need between 1,350ppm and 1,500ppm. If you’re a high-risk patient, ask your dentist to prescribe you one.

One other really important advice is not to rinse your mouth out once you’re done brushing. You have to leave some amount of fluoride behind, not get rid of it entirely after applying it for two minutes. Fluoride left behind will remineralize your enamel, offering it protection and strength.

Then you forgot to brush your teeth before going to bed. You must have eaten a starchy or acidic meal and got one drink too many. Did you know that it takes 24 hours for the gum disease process to start? Hence, it’s essential to go for the toothbrush when you wake up and before breakfast. The final word is: clean with an interdental brush first, then brush with fluoride. Then spit it out but don’t rinse. We are guaranteed better oral health than the generation before us.

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Disinfecting Advice for Your Toothbrush

A Clean Toothbrush For A Clean Mouth

Do you realize that your toothbrush can harbor all sorts of germs?

The bristles can be a breeding ground for germs. Your bristles are coated in water, toothpaste, food debris and mouth bacteria each time you brush your teeth. Should you have the flu or cold, you would have added the virus into your toothbrush. What should you do? You must disinfect and clean your toothbrush regularly to keep them clean and fresh. After an illness, do the same to your brush, or better, replace it with a new one. This way you can help prevent germs from spreading to the rest of your family.

What does the American Dental Association advice on toothbrush care?

You should clean your toothbrush every time you use it. Microorganisms from our mouths and the environment grow on toothbrushes after we use them. They can cause ill health so toothbrush care means to remove all toothpaste and food debris after you brush your teeth by rinsing the bristles thoroughly in clean water. When the toothbrush is clean, stand it on its handle end and make sure it’s not touching other toothbrushes to allow it to air dry. Don’t cover toothbrush bristles that won’t allow them to dry out, and definitely don’t share toothbrushes. You should also replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or earlier if the bristles are frayed or worn.

After recovering from a respiratory illness, clean and disinfect your toothbrush to help get rid of a cold or flu that you don’t want to catch again or pass around your family. Here’s a range of options for disinfecting toothbrushes that might be contaminated with flu germs:

  • Swirl the bristles in antibacterial mouthwash for 30 seconds.
  • Dissolve 2 teaspoons of baking soda in a cup of water and soak the toothbrush in the solution.
  • Dilute 1 teaspoon of 3 percent strength hydrogen peroxide in 1 cup of water and swish the toothbrush bristles in the solution before brushing.
  • Soak the bristles in vinegar overnight once per week.
  • Dissolve a denture cleansing tablet according to the instructions on the label and soak the toothbrush bristles in the solution.

Remember to not soak your toothbrush in mouthwash longer than 15 minutes. And don’t reuse any mouthwash used for cleaning. Putting your toothbrush in a microwave or dishwasher can destroy the plastic your toothbrush is made of. It can take less than a minute’s worth of effort to leave your toothbrush fresh and clean.

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Important Notice

Tetrick Family Dentistry is temporarily closed following guidelines from the ADA and Health Department regarding the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Tetrick is available to existing patients for emergencies. If you are an existing patient and experiencing a dental emergency, our outgoing office voicemail has the on-call doctor’s information.

There will be very limited response or access to emails by administrative staff at this time. Thank you for your patience in this time of uncertainty.

Essential Oral Health Habits

Easy Tips to Stay Mouth Healthy

If you are self-quarantined, here are some dentist tips to stay healthy in this time of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Is your diet healthy? Dental experts advise to avoid excessive snacking. Stress and boredom can easily enable us to overindulge – inherent in self-quarantining. Frequent snacking on starchy foods or drinks can overwhelm our teeth with acid, softening and weakening our enamel. It is also recommended to avoid non-fiber carbohydrates which behave like sugar and contribute to plaque buildup. If possible, avoid processed foods. Taking up a Paleo-type diet is commendable.

Dentists agree that good hydration is also important. Drink plenty of water to hydrate the mouth, more especially if you have dry mouth syndrome. Water washes everything down your throat and any virus present is exterminated in the acidic environment of the stomach.

Precautions to Take

To manage your stress, get rid of unhealthy habits like overindulging in smoking and drinking. Smoking impedes blood supply to your gums and increases the risk for gum infections. High exposure to alcohol can dry out your cheeks and gums. Chewing on ice, pen caps, or fingernails can cause the teeth to chip or break. Avoiding hard foods that can crack a tooth or damage fillings like popcorn, peanut brittle, and sticky candy is also encouraged. Be careful when you floss, it may pull out a filling.

Think about how long you’ve been using your toothbrush. It is recommended to change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Toothbrushes are very sensitive for transmitting viruses.

Many times, our toothbrushes and other toiletries are just inches away from the toilet bowl. Flush with the lid closed. Floss, brushes, and tongue cleaners should be covered. Make sure to keep them clean and disinfect them.

Scientific evidence shows that the immune response is closely related to the health of your gums. During a pandemic, the goal is to optimize your immune system.

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Can You Really Prevent Gingivitis?

Knowing the Key to Prevention

If proper plaque control is practiced, gingivitis can be reversed in nearly all cases. Where proper plaque control is concerned, it means daily brushing and flossing and at least twice a year professional cleanings Yes, proper oral hygiene is essential, however, there are other risk factors that can influence whether or not you get gingivitis. Some of them are beyond our control, like advancing age. Others can be managed with good commitment to oral hygiene including diabetes, tobacco use, viral and fungal infections, decreased immunity, substance abuse and poor nutrition.

Did you know that plaque forms on your teeth every single day?

The food we eat and left over in our mouths attract bacteria. They especially prefer sugar. Plaque typically forms within 24 hours, so it is extremely important to brush every day. If the plaque is left to harden, it becomes tartar, a layer of protection for bacteria. This buildup can lead to gingivitis.

The following are steps you can take to prevent gingivitis and also at the same time, treat it. Brush twice a day to remove bacterial plaque. Regular toothbrushes are good options, though studies show that in general, electric toothbrushes decrease more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. After three months of use, plaque was reduced by 21% and gingivitis by 11%.
Use an anti-gingivitis or anti-plaque toothpaste containing fluoride to strengthen teeth and prevent bacterial damage in plaque that builds up on teeth throughout the day.

Antibacterial mouthwash after brushing helps fight plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath. A good mouthwash covers those hard-to-reach areas where bacteria can hide.

At least floss once a day to remove food particles and plaque between teeth. Do not ignore those back teeth either. Your gums may bleed for time. However, it is important to keep brushing and flossing.

Improve your diet by adding more calcium. It’s good for your bones and beneficial to gums, too. Increase your intake of essential vitamins, particularly B12.

Go to your dental appointments for professional cleaning regularly; at least once every 6 months or more frequently if you have related risk factors. It’s not just for cleanings but for checkups if there are issues you may have or are not aware about.

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Preventing Gingivitis in Bellingham

For your other concerns regarding gum health, please come by Dr. Tetrick’s clinic in Bellingham. We look after gum health all the time with our expertise and tips-to-go.

Knowing the Dangers of Gingivitis

Causes, Risk Factors and Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. It’s mild and very common with a tendency to increase in severity as people age. However, gingivitis is most commonly seen in late adolescence. It is most often unaddressed and without disturbing symptoms, like pain. However, gums with gingivitis are red, irritated and swollen. Under the umbrella of gum diseases, gingivitis is an early stage. If it goes on untreated, it can lead to the more destructive and severe form – periodontitis – which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

What causes gingivitis?

It is commonly caused by plaque buildup. Plaque is an extremely sticky, colorless to pale yellow deposit of bacteria that regularly builds up on teeth if not brushed regularly. The bacteria produce acids that attack tooth enamel and can damage the gums.

Risk Factors for Gingivitis

The most common is poor oral hygiene. Habits of irregular and improper tooth brushing and flossing definitely are poor oral hygiene practices. Apart from this are certain disease conditions notably diabetes and HIV/AIDS which impede the immune system in battling inflammation and infection. Pregnancy can alter hormone levels and leave gums defenseless in fighting infections. Certain medicines can trigger gingivitis, also like oral contraceptives, steroids, anticonvulsants, calcium channel blockers, and chemotherapy. Smoking or chewing on tobacco is another risk factor. Situations like crooked teeth, broken fillings and poorly fitting dental appliances are still others. Some people are genetically prone to gum disease.

How do you know you may have gingivitis?

As mentioned, redness, swelling and irritation may be present. Bleeding and bad breath might be noted. You can easily ignore these symptoms, but remember the risk factors. You might not recognize the signs or you are worried about seeking care from a dental professional, your condition will probably get worse. Untreated gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. The gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small pockets where bacteria can get trapped. Bacteria in these pockets destroy the bone supporting the teeth. That’s how you can lose your teeth.

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Seeking Professional Dental Care in Bellingham

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms see your Bellingham dentist right away and get a proper assessment. If these symptoms persist, talk to us to determine the best treatment.